A Cedar Springs grad had an exciting spring break this year when she met Hollywood star Robert DeNiro on the set of a film he was making in Florida.
Katie Schumann, the daughter of Mark Schumann, and Jayne Bremmer, all of Cedar Springs, was visiting with her Grandma Verla, Uncle Glenn Stout and Aunt Boni in Briny Breezes, Florida at a mobile home park located on the Atlantic ocean, about fifteen miles south of West Palm Beach.
“This is a community where elders vacation and can relax with the amenities of a country club,” explained Katie. “The residents are super sweet and I love talking and hanging out with them when I go down to visit.”
Glenn said that over the past number of years scenes in two movies have been shot there, “Folks” and “In Her Shoes.”
“The park has a beautiful clubhouse that sets right on the beach facing the Atlantic which is where much of the filming had been done in the past,” he explained. “A rumor was floating around the park at this time that yet another crew might be stopping at Briny for another shoot.”
Katie said her aunt told her the night before that they might be shooting the movie the next morning at the clubhouse, where there Zumba class was held. “My Uncle came back from trying to get his DJ equipment up at the clubhouse and he said that the filming crew was up there filming a scene! He got his camera and went running back up there and I was close behind him,” she said.
“Katie and I made our way to the clubhouse early on the suspected day to find lots of people shouting directions to local resident extras while camera men shot the scenes from the clubhouse porch. Golf carts and police cars were everywhere,” said Glenn.
The two watched the crew film a scene, but didn’t see DeNiro and then they announced it was time to move to a different location.
“I had just said to Katie that while this was certainly filming for a movie, it didn’t appear that Mr. DeNiro was there. Lots of unfamiliar faces, but none that looked like him. Katie’s eyes got big when she said, “Look! He’s right over there!” He had walked right by us, inches away, on his way to his car! The next thing I knew, Katie was following him and his assistant. It made me a bit nervous. What was she doing?
“People started moving everywhere and Robert De Niro was escorted right past me with his security guard into his black escalade!” explained Katie. “The door was still open in the backseat and so I walked right up to the security guard and asked if I could have a picture with him. You honestly probably weren’t supposed to do that, but I thought I would regret it if I didn’t ask. She said that I could and I just had to wait until he was done checking his phone. He was totally cool about getting back out of the car and taking a picture with me.”
Glenn saw the actor get out of the car and pose with his arm around Katie, so Glenn whipped out his phone and took the photo. DeNiro then got back in the car and was driven away.
“He is such a big movie star and really it was crazy that we actually got a picture together,” remarked Katie. “It was only the park manager and I that got a picture with him and I was totally floored. I talked about it all day and was full of energy and excitement! That was definitely the highlight of my vacation and I am very lucky to have family members that let me stay with them for my spring break!”
Katie said she has one more year at Grand Rapids Community College, and then plans to go to Grand Valley State University.